Jemima Kirke, the irreverent aesthete who doesn’t take herself or show-business seriously, has all that she needs to have an enviable career as actress. But does she want any of it? I presume not, and that’s what makes her such a strong candidate for this column.
From her role in Lena Dunham’s “Tiny Furniture” (2010) in which she plays the lead character’s tuned-out dropped-in foil, to her recent turn in the HBO series “Girls,” Kirke has demonstrated that she has the acting chops and could land some primo roles in the future. And yet, if you raised the subject of acting in private she’d probably–this is just a guess–steer the conversation towards some new artist she discovered at Deitch Projects.
Beside acting Kirke, a British-born American who’s a mother of two, is also an accomplished artist (she’s stated in past interviews that acting is secondary). She runs her own site (jkirke.com) on which one can view her paintings, mostly people, lots of self-portraits, some nudes. This is clearly an accomplished artist. Her absorbing portrait paintings lack a little in maturity, a fault easily overlooked since Lucian Freud’s paintings got especially good towards the mid-end of his career (like any painter worth their salt, he painted until the very last day).
On visiting Kirke’s drawings section I was reminded of the works of David Wojnarowicz and Basquiat. Art is not a whim where Kirke is concerned: the actress-slashie who could be the love-child of Jennifer Saunders and Robin Wright, attended the famous RISD, or Rochester Institute of Design, where many a famous artist went (Roz Chast, Shepard Fairey and James Franco are alums).
Kirke is naturally beautiful. But either she doesn’t know this or she has the ability often associated with European women to bypass the cheap, martyrdom-driven form of self-love witnessed on red carpets stateside and also in Liverpool, England.
Beauty, worldiness and artistic gifts: Kirke has them all and is therefore the right Lindsay Lohan antidote– we need more of this in order to contain the surge of Kardashians and the rest of the overmoisturized zombies.
Little is known about Kirke, besides her compelling artwork and her gigs as actress (check out the HBO series “Girls”). Here’s hoping that Jemima Kirke will continue to grace us with on-screen appearances and more of her visual artistry. Because there should be more Jemima Kirkes in America today. We needed them like yesterday.